Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. They integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelve grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the Waldorf philosophy is that it recognizes the essential spiritual nature within each human being. From the Waldorf perspective, attaining knowledge is one purpose of the learning process, but just as important — and perhaps even more important — is to educate the heart and the will of the child, so that knowledge is joined with compassion and action.
In the grades, each day starts with a two-hour main lesson period. Main lesson subjects are taught in blocks of three to four weeks, enabling the students to focus intensively on one subject at a time. Other specialty subjects, such as art, crafts, eurythmy, foreign languages, gardening, music and physical education are taught year-round.
Music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.
Students create their own main lesson books from material the teacher presents in class. As the students move up in the grades, reference books, classic literature and group discussion increasingly supplement the class teacher's oral presentations.
Lower Grades (1st - 4th grades)
At Garden House Waldorf School, a child's education in academic subjects includes hands-on learning through music, painting, sculpture, movement and woodworking. Grades 1-4 is a time for children to understand the relationship between themselves and the world around them. Providing space and encouragement through this developmental stage enables the child to become stable, balanced and self-sufficient.
The child has completed the formation of their physical body and is ready to begin work with their mind. Children learn best at this age by entering the world with love, sympathy and wonder.
Curriculum: Imaginative fairy stories, exploring nature, music, foreign language, handwork and painting
The child is like a butterfly who has just emerged from the chrysalis sitting upon a leaf poised for flight. This is the time when they discover their relationship with the world around them. They are eager to participate in everything that comes to their attention.
Curriculum: Drama, poetry, painting, grammar, arithmetic, nature study, handwork, foreign language, flute.
This is the “Crossing Point” for a child. They start to question everything and feel separate from the world. They sometimes suffer from loneliness and fear. At this time it is important for the child to learn self sufficiency.
Curriculum: Practical farming and gardening, building shelters, drama, music, foreign language, long division, measurement and grammar.
The child is “Encountering SELF” This is a time where they are finding stability and strength as an individual yet working harmoniously together.
Curriculum: Human and animal studies (zoology), geography, long division, fractions, geometry, composition writing, violin or any other string instruments , foreign language.
Upper Grades (5th – 6th grades)
The approach to Waldorf education is creative - but it is also rigorous. Entering into the upper grades with a foundation of strength and self-sufficiency, the child can now successfully enter into the next developmental stage where he can flourish. This is a time of awareness and self-discovery which lays the path for a lifelong love of learning.
The Class 5 child has crossed over into harmonious balance where they can begin to flourish. This is the time to establish foundations for their future.
Curriculum: Ancient Civilizations, botany, research compositions, foreign language, string ensemble, painting, sculpture, geometry, ratios & proportions, class play.
The child takes a firm, intentional step into the outer world and becomes aware of the changes in their body. With increasing awareness of the physical self, the time is right for study of the physical body of the earth.
Curriculum: Roman history, geology, minerals, climate, physics, astronomy, literature, biography, speech, drama, history, recitation, pre-algebra, business math, cultural studies, choir, woodworking.